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Insights Daily Current Events, 13 July 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 13 July 2015


India’s population crosses 127-crore mark

On the World Population Day (11th July), India recorded a population of 127,42,39,769. It is growing at a rate of 1.6% a year, and could make the country the most populous in the world by 2050. This data was released by Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh or National Population Stabilisation Fund (NPSF), an autonomous body under the Union Health Ministry.

Notable observations made:

  • India’s population is 17.25% of the global population.
  • India’s population is growing at a faster rate than China, which is now the world’s most populous country at around 1.39 billion.
  • If current population growth rates continue, India will have 1.63 billion people by 2050 and will surpass China.
  • The total fertility rate (TFR) in India has seen a decline and stood at 2.3 in 2013 although the decline is not consistent.
  • The data suggests that a high percentage of female (21-26%) are married below 18 years of age in States like Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Bihar.
  • The population of India, at 1.21 billion as per the 2011 Census, is almost equal to the combined population of the U.S., Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan put together.
  • The population of several States match, and in some cases, exceed that of several large countries. For example, the population of U.P. is almost that of Brazil, the fifth most populous country in the world.

About Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh:

  • The “Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh” (JSK) (National Population Stabilisation Fund) has been registered as an autonomous Society established under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.
  • JSK has to promote and undertake activities aimed at achieving population stabilisation at a level consistent with the needs of sustainable economic growth, social development and environment protection, by 2045.
  • The Union Health Minister heads the General Body of JSK and the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Women and Child Development, Department of School Education & Literacy, Rural Development, Planning Commission are represented by their Secretaries on the General Body of JSK.
  • All State Governments are members of JSK.
  • Besides this the General Body has demographers, representatives of Industry & Trade, NGOs, medical and para-medical associations, general citizens as its members. This enables JSK run as a civil society movement drawing on the strength of its partners.

Sources: The Hindu.


India stands second on trust in national government, says survey

According to a survey of trust in national governments for 2014 conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), India has secured second position amongst 40 countries.

What is ‘trust’ according to the survey?

According to the OECD ‘Government at a Glance 2015’ report, trust represents the confidence of citizens and businesses in government to do what is right and perceived as fair.

Details of the Report:

  • Switzerland has secured first position with Norway coming in third.
  • The average confidence in national governments across OECD countries between the two years declined by 3.3% points. It was 41.8% in 2014 compared with 45.2% in 2007.
  • The steepest declines took place in Slovenia, Finland and Spain.
  • Changes in trust levels could be affected by many factors, including the economic outlook, political changes such as elections or other major events such as disasters or major scandals including corruption cases. Moreover, expectations of citizens could grow at a faster pace than government responses.
  • India has scored less than the OECD average and came 24th out of 35 countries in the comparison on protection of fundamental rights.
  • These are rights established under international law: the right to equal treatment and the absence of discrimination, the right to life and security of the person; due process of law and rights of the accused, freedom of opinion and expression; freedom of belief and religion, absence of arbitrary interference with privacy etc.
  • India fared similarly on the count of constrained government powers where the top ranking countries – Denmark, Finland and Norway – demonstrate a highly balanced distribution of authority within societies.
  • The report also shows that trust in government is negatively correlated with the perceived levels of corruption in Government.

This is the only survey that collects data on the issue of trust in governments. It is a sampling survey of 1,000 citizens in each country conducted by World Poll, which has been doing it since 2005. Between the two selected survey years of 2007 — the year before the financial and economic crisis started — and 2014, trust levels in India dropped by 9% points.

About OECD:  

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.

The OECD promotes policies designed:

  • To achieve the highest sustainable economic growth and employment and a rising standard of living in Member countries, while maintaining financial stability, and thus to contribute to the development of the world economy;
  • To contribute to sound economic expansion in Member as well as nonmember countries in the process of economic development; and
  • To contribute to the expansion of world trade on a multilateral, nondiscriminatory basis in accordance with international obligations.

Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries. India is one of the many non-member economies with which the OECD has working relationships in addition to its member countries.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki,


Defamation should remain a penal offence: Home Ministry

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that defamation should remain a penal offence in India as the defamer may be too poor to compensate the victim. It has denied that criminal defamation had any chilling effect on free speech.

Why the government said so?

Since there is no mechanism to censor the Internet from within, the government said online defamation could only be adequately countered by retaining defamation as a criminal offence. The centre has also said that criminalisation of defamation was part of the state’s “compelling interest” to protect the right to dignity and good reputation of its citizens.

What else has the government said?

  • Unlike in the U. S, defamation in India cannot be treated as civil liability as there is always a possibility of the defamer being judgment free, i.e., not having the adequate financial capability to compensate the victim.
  • The government has also denied that Sections 499 and 500, framed in 1860, were obsolete in a modern democratic polity. It says that 10 exceptions to Section 499 of the IPC clearly exclude from its ambit any speech that is truthful, made in good faith and/or is for public good.


  • This response from the center was part of an affidavit filed by the Union Home Ministry in response to petitions filed by political leaders cutting across party lines urging the court to declare criminal defamation unconstitutional. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal are among those who filed the petitions.
  • The petioners say criminalisation of defamation deterred free speech, was liable to abuse and choked the legitimate criticism of public officials.

The IPC under Section 499/500 criminalizes defamatory speech. This means that a person can be imprisoned for a maximum period of 2 years, if found guilty.

Defamation means the action of damaging the good reputation of someone.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


India’s longest road tunnel to open for traffic next year

India’s longest road tunnel, being built on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, will be opened for general traffic in July next year and would reduce the distance between the two cities by 30 kms.

About the tunnel:

  • The tunnel, connecting Chenani in Udhampur with Nashri in Ramban district, is being completed at a cost of over Rs. 2500 crore.
  • The 9.2 km tunnel is part of 286 km-long four-laning project of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.
  • The state-of-the-art tunnel is simultaneously being built from the two ends and the NHAI teams will meet at the centre by drilling a hole through the final section.
  • Once this tunnel becomes operational it will reduce the traffic jams on National Highway-1A that occur due to snowfall and avalanche in winter at Patnitop.

Sources: The Hindu.


Wimbledon 2015: Sania Mirza makes history for India

Sania Mirza has won her first Wimbledon title, claiming the women’s doubles crown with her legendary partner, Switzerland’s Martina Hingis. The pair beat Russian duo Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

  • Sania Mirza was also the first Indian woman to win a WTA title in 2005 and reach a grand slam final (at the Australian Open mixed doubles in 2009).
  • She is also ranked world number one in women’s doubles.

Wimbledon 2015 highlights & winners:

  • It took place in London, United Kingdom.
  • Men’s singles: Noval Djokovic.
  • Women’s singles title: Serena Williams.
  • Men’s doubles: Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.
  • Mixed doubles: Leander Paes and Martina Hingis.

Sources: The Hindu.


The 12th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences (Isaes)

The 12th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences (ISAES) was recently inaugurated at a function in Goa.

The Themes for the Symposium include Antarctica and Supercontinent Evolution, Antarctic Surface Processes, Landscapes, and Links with Cryosphere and Climate, Antarctic Solid Earth Structure and Interactions with the Cryosphere: Antarctica, the Southern Ocean, and Evolution of Climate and the Global Cryosphere, amongst others.

About ISAES:

  • The International symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences (ISAES) is a SCAR-initiative aimed at showcasing Antarctic geoscience research, taking stock of the accomplishments of the International fraternity and providing guidance for future studies.
  • The first ISAES was organised way back in 1963 at Cape Town, and the last one (11th) at Edinburgh, with the Symposium traversing through Oslo, Madison, Adelaide, Cambridge, Tokyo, Siena, Wellington, Potsdam and Santa Barbara.
  • In its 50-year history, Japan has been the only Asian country to hold it with India being bestowed the honor to host the 12th such International symposium now.
  • Globally the scientific progress and state of the studies in earth sciences is reviewed in a gathering of all polar nations at an interval of four years in the form of International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Science (ISAES). A total of 11 such symposiums have been held since 1963.

India and Antarctica:

  • Antarctica is recognized as a heritage of mankind and as mandated by the provisions of the Antarctic treaty, signed by 29 consultative parties, no commercial activity is permitted in Antarctica and its environment and all claims to its territory are frozen.
  • The scientific programs of this natural polar laboratory are designed and approved by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) which has a President and two to three vice-presidents and a small secretariat located at Cambridge, England.
  • The science research programs are proposed and co-ordinated by three standing scientific groups (SSG’s) on Geosciences (GS), life sciences (LS) and physical sciences (PS) each having three chief officers.
  • India currently has two permanent stations, Maitri at Schirmacher oasis and Bharati in the Larsemann Hill area located ~1000km east of Maitri. The first Indian station, Dakshin Gangotri, located on shelf ice is now buried and lost.

Sources: PIB.


New butterfly species ‘Banded Tit’ found in forests of Arunachal

A tiny butterfly species new to science has been discovered in the verdant forests of the Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • It is christened as the ‘Banded Tit’.
  • The Banded Tit is a denizen of low-lying evergreen forests of Changlang and has an interesting life cycle.
  • The adult butterflies live only for approximately two weeks in March every year, presumably spending a large part of the remaining year in a dormant state in larval or pupal stages, which are still unknown and the butterflies feed primarily on bird-droppings along cool streams in the forests.

Sources: Livemint.

Insights Secure Prelims 2015

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